The battery is arguably the most critical component of your electric bike, helping you enjoy longer rides than you could have dreamt of. However, regular maintenance and good riding practices are vital to maximizing e-bike battery life.
Understanding Your E-Bike Battery
To travel the maximum distance possible on a single charge, you must first understand your e-bike battery and how it works to travel the maximum distance possible on a single charge.
Types of E-Bike Batteries
The first e-bikes used lead-acid batteries, heavy batteries usually used to start cars and take a long time to recharge. So modern e-bikes now use lithium-ion batteries, which also power devices like smartphones and laptops. These batteries are compact, lightweight, reliable, and must be charged regularly to give you the juice to power your ride. They’re also non-toxic, recyclable, and can deliver as many as 1,000 rides when looked after properly.
How E-Bike Batteries Work
E-bikes typically feature 200- to 500-watt batteries, producing 20 to 50 volts or 10 to 12 amps. Volts can be considered the battery’s energy, and amps refer to the amount of electricity that can flow through it.
Like phones and laptops, e-bike batteries are powered up by connecting a charger and plugging it into a wall outlet. E-bike batteries feature a management system that monitors energy levels to prevent them from being under or overcharged, but it’s best not to keep it plugged in for long periods. They can charge while still attached to the bike or be removed and charged externally.
Strategies to Prolong Your E-Bike Battery Life
Your e-bike battery life can be extended by regularly following a few best practices, including:
Regular Maintenance and Inspection
One of the best ways to prolong the life of your e-bike battery is to regularly check its components and performance. For example:
- Clean and tighten connections: Riding your e-bike with a dirty chain or mud clogging the drivetrain will affect its rideability. Likewise, keeping the battery clean and dry will avoid the risk of corrosion and oxidation, which can hinder its performance or stop it from working entirely.
- Regularly inspect for damage: Batteries can easily become damaged during rides or while on charge. So make sure you periodically check for signs of damage or wear.
Ideal Charging Practices
How you charge your e-bike directly impacts how long it will last, but you can avoid this with these best practices:
- Time and environment: A safe charging station is one of the easiest ways to extend battery life. Ideally, charge the battery at room temperature and in a clean and dry area to minimize the risk of damage.
- Avoid overcharging: It may be tempting to pop your e-bike battery on charge before you go to bed and leave it charging up overnight. However, overcharging the battery can reduce its capacity, run the risk of melting or overheating, and negatively impact its long-term performance.
- Avoid deep discharge: Equally, fully discharging the battery’s juice down to zero can reduce its capacity and affect how well it holds a charge in the future.
Riding Habits Impact on Battery Life
How you ride your e-bike can also affect battery life. For example:
- Efficient use of pedal assist: Pedal assist gives you an extra boost of power to climb steep hills or ride a little faster. However, using higher pedal assist levels drains more energy from the battery, affecting its long-term performance. So avoid using high levels of pedal assist if it’s not necessary.
- Avoid extreme conditions: The weather you ride in also directly impacts e-bike battery life, and you may not be able to ride as far in extreme cold or heat. Shengmilo Bikes advises: “If the battery is frequently exposed to extreme heat or cold, it will not function properly and will drain faster or not fully charge when plugged into an electrical outlet. Eventually, this decreases battery life and performance.”
Mistakes That Shorten Your Battery’s Lifespan
With these best practices in mind, you need to avoid critical mistakes that will reduce battery life, including:
- Winter battery care: One of the biggest mistakes you can make is ignoring battery care during the winter months, such as leaving an uncharged battery packed away for several months.
- Don’t fully discharge: Getting the most out of your battery relies on avoiding entirely using its juice regularly. This can prevent the battery from fully charging and reduce its future capacity.
- Don’t open the battery: Lithium-ion batteries use combustible lithium powder that can explode when it comes into contact with oxygen. So there’s a high risk of the battery catching on fire if you attempt to open it. If there’s a fault with the battery, don’t attempt to examine or repair it, but take it to a professional to get it fixed or replaced.
The Importance of Proper Battery Storage
Battery performance can be affected even when it’s not in use, so don’t be tempted to pack it away for winter and forget about it. As Juiced Bikes advises: “If you’re not riding during the winter, it’s important to store your battery inside and at the right charge level. Keep your charge at 50% capacity when storing.”
Your battery should be stored at room temperature in a dry location to ensure optimal battery health when you’re ready to start riding again.
Maximize Your E-Bike Experience
The distance an e-bike can cover is vital in deciding which model you purchase. But regardless of the claimed range of the manufacturer, the above tactics can help you extend battery life when riding or storing the battery.